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Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

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2023.07.26 - Collider - Slash on 'The Breach,' What He Loves About the Horror Genre, and Creating Music for Movies

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2023.07.26 - Collider - Slash on 'The Breach,' What He Loves About the Horror Genre, and Creating Music for Movies Empty 2023.07.26 - Collider - Slash on 'The Breach,' What He Loves About the Horror Genre, and Creating Music for Movies

Post by Blackstar Thu Jul 27, 2023 12:15 am

Slash on 'The Breach,' What He Loves About the Horror Genre, and Creating Music for Movies

He also talks about how he ended up playing guitar on "I'm Just Ken" from the 'Barbie' movie, and how he keeps things fresh when he's touring.

By Christina Radish

From director Rodrigo Gudiño, the founder of Rue Morgue Magazine, and executive producer Slash, who also did the film’s music, the horror flick The Breach follows Chief of Police John Hawkins (Allan Hawco) as he finishes out his last days at work in the tiny town of Lone Crow. When he’s sucked into one last case, after a gruesomely mangled body with inexplicable wounds washes onto the shore, he never expects to get caught up in a bizarre mystery with a horrific outcome.

During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, rock guitarist/movie producer Slash talked about why he wanted to have a hand in telling this story, how he ended up as part of a production company, his process for creating music in different mediums, and not being a huge gore guy. He also talked about how he ended up playing guitar on “I’m Just Ken,” the ‘80s power ballad from the Barbie movie, how he keeps touring with a rock band fresh every night, whether he thinks he’ll ever incorporate his love of dinosaurs into a movie at some point, what his production company currently has in development, and how he feels about A.I. in the entertainment industry.

Collider: What appealed to you about this and made you want to produce it? When this came your way, was it the book? Was it the screenplay? Was it both things? Were you just scared by it, and you thought that was cool? What made you want to get involved with this?

SLASH: I’ve been producing horror movies for about 10 years now, so I’m out there looking for stuff. This particular story came my way via Rodrigo Gudiño, the director. He had gotten it when it was a book from Nick Cutter. He told me about this story, and I think Nick had written a script, and then Rodrigo embellished it a little bit. So, he came to me, and I’ve known Rodrigo for a long time. He’s a great writer, as well as a great director. He wanted to see what I thought, so that maybe we could work on it together. And so, I read it and I just fell in love with it because it was right up my alley. It’s just this particular kind of horror story where it’s more of a drama with the horror element, which is more my thing. I don’t like movies that just give it all up at the beginning. I like something that has more of a human story that’s going on, where you start to get really invested in characters, and then everything goes wrong. That’s basically what this was for me. It’s a slow burn that has an actual humanoid monster type deal at the end. I really just liked it. And so, we set out to make the movie, and we ended up working with Raven Banner, who is another company that I’ve known for a long time. I’ve been friends with Andrew [Hunt] and Mike [Paszt], over there, for years. They took it under their wing, and we started a horror production company.

Was that something that was your idea, or was that something that someone came to you with? How did the company happen?

SLASH: When I first got into this, the first thing I did was work on a movie back in 2013. I didn’t have any real aspirations, other than, at that moment in time, there was a real lull in the horror genre and it was really infuriating. I just wanted to make a movie that I would like to see. I was like, “If I can just be responsible for making the kinds of movies that I would dig, that would be fun.” So, I ended up getting into that first movie, which was called Nothing Left to Fear, which was an almost impossible movie to make, fraught with all kinds of pitfalls and obstacles and everything I needed to run away. But we managed to complete the movie and get it released. And then, I wanted to keep doing it, so I’ve been at it and I’ve been learning how tough it is to get financing, and all the other issues that you run up against in this business, but I’m still at it. It’s funny, this particular movie, as soon as we got the green light to go ahead and make it, we went straight into COVID and had to deal with that major obstacle. With Raven Banner, and with Andrew, Mike and Rodrigo, they managed to figure out a way to get the relatively small cast all into one environment in one location, and shoot the whole movie in that environment. They built the sets. There was a small hotel that they were working out of, and they used that for interiors. There was no staff because of COVID, so Andrew did all the cooking for the entire crew and cast They made this movie, and I did the music. They were sending me dailies, and I was writing the music. I started actually writing music to the script, and then they started sending me dailies and I started timing up some of the shots. With the whole production company thing, I just wanna be able to find good stories and be responsible for getting the right components together to make the movie.

When you create music for a movie, do you think about it in terms of themes for each character? Do you think about it in terms of the emotion of the moment? Is it even that specific?

SLASH: It’s not necessarily that specific. It’s really a feeling when you’re reading it on paper. That’s how it really starts for me. It’s the vibe of the story. You might also get into a certain scene that has a certain kind of whatever it is – whether it’s suspense or a romantic thing or whatever happens – that gives you a feeling for that section. I don’t think I’ve ever necessarily written anything based on a character, but there’s no rhyme or reason for it. I don’t have any rule. I just jump in feet first and see what happens. I’m working on something now, and it’s really just based off a story. Where it goes from there, remains to be seen.

When you’re creating music for a movie, does that differ from when you’re creating music for something like Halloween Horror Nights? Is the process different, or is the process always exactly for you, regardless of the specific medium?

SLASH: Writing in a band context is completely different than doing the visual stuff. With Halloween Horror Nights, which I first did in 2014 and had a great time doing, and have been doing it pretty much almost every year since, what happens is that John Murdy sends me his basic outline of what the maze is gonna be and what the theme of the maze is. And then, he sends me illustrations of the characters and the set, and I just start writing stuff. I work with him, and I work with a guy named Stacy [Deckard], who is the musical director for the whole park. It’s a fun process, and I think it’s similar. I just get a vibe off the image and off of the idea, and I start writing something to it. It is different than writing to a script, but there’s no real rhyme or reason. I don’t know how it works, but it’s inspiring to read something that’s interesting, and then a musical idea just automatically comes from it.

When you’re involved in producing a film like this, what are the things that are important to you when it comes to the overall movie? Are you thinking about the tone? Are you thinking about the level of gore? Do you want to make sure it’s a certain level of scary? Are you thinking about making sure the ending works? What’s most important to you, when you’re thinking about the overall picture of it?

SLASH: What happens is that once you’ve really finished developing the script, you have a pretty good idea of the vibe of it and where the beats are and how it’s supposed to move along. You obviously have an idea for what the ending is. You don’t wanna go into it without one. You just follow your gut with that. You’re working with people. Obviously, you’re working with the director, so it’s more his vision than anything because he’s the guy who’s more or less behind the camera and you go with that. If there’s anything that you come up against, that you disagree with, or if there’s anything that doesn’t seem to feel like it’s supposed to, then you’re gonna get into it. With the gore thing, I’m not a huge gore guy. I like it to be there for a reason. Going into it, before you’ve even started actually shooting anything, you know where the gore parts are and how extreme they’re gonna be. You try to iron out as much stuff as possible, so that you don’t have to scratch your head and think about it too much while you’re actually in the middle of it. Now, the one thing about The Breach is that I wasn’t on set because of COVID. Those guys were in lockdown in Ontario, and I was in lockdown in Los Angeles, so I wasn’t actually on the set, but I was looking at the dailies and seeing the final cut, or close to the final cut. I had a really good idea of what Rodrigo was doing. It panned out, but I think a lot of that was because we knew what we were doing before we shot it.

I have to say that you playing on the ‘80s power ballad, “I’m Just Ken,” for the Barbie movie was not on my 2023 bingo card. It’s genius, but it’s also insane. When you were approached about doing that, what was your initial reaction, and what ultimately won you over?

SLASH: Well, I do a lot of insane stuff. I’m not trying to follow a certain idea where I’m supposed to be this and I can’t venture outside of that mold, or people trip out. I’m just not that person. I just do whatever I feel like. But what happened with Barbie, that’s not something where I would have said, “I wanna be on the Barbie movie.” Mark Ronson, who is the producer and I think he wrote the whole soundtrack, called me and asked me if I would play on something that he was doing for the movie. I love Mark. He’s a great guy. He’s a super talented producer and great songwriter. So, I said, “Send it to me and let me see what it is.” So, he sent me a demo and I was like, “It’s a song about Ken,” which is just funny, in itself. I was like, “Okay, yeah, I can do something with this.” It was a session where Mark just had a basic skeleton recorded. He was sending me stuff, and I was in the studio, so I did it and sent it back. And then, he went, “Wait, Josh Freese just put drums on it, so here it is again.” And it was completely different now, so I redid it and then sent it in again. I was like, “Okay, this is cool,” and I rearranged what I did and sent it back again. It was not an easy session because it completely changed, but it was fun. That’s how I got involved.

What’s it like for you, touring for so long? How do you keep things fresh when you have to play certain songs every night? Are there times when you feel like you’re just going through the motions, or can you keep it fresh for yourself, every time?

SLASH: That’s a great question. I love touring. For me, it’s the reason I do what I do, as a musician. The reason I love being a musician and the reason why I endure all the shit that you have to endure, in order to do this for a living, is to be able to go out and play live. The only reason to make a record is just so you can go out there and play live, as far as I’m concerned. You know you’re gonna play that song. You’re lucky if you’re gonna be able to play that song, 80 million times. If you’re in that position to do so, you try to find fun ways of doing it, every night. If you can’t, you just try not to go through the motions where it becomes tedious and becomes a job. It’s a fun task. I don’t have an issue with it.

I’m aware of your interest in and love for dinosaurs. Do have any sort of plan to work your love of dinosaurs into a movie that you’re involved in? Is there any way you could bring these two worlds together?

SLASH: Really ironic that you should say that because, and I can’t name any names, there has been a conversation about doing a dinosaur related feature movie. We’re looking at some different ideas. Everything suffers from being compared to Jurassic Park. If you’re gonna do something with dinosaurs, that’s just the way it is. But there has to be a way to break out of that, so there has been some conversation about an original story that involves dinosaurs. I don’t know where we’re at with that yet, but there you go.

As a funny follow up to that, do you think real-life scientists have learned anything from watching Jurassic Park, or do you think things would play out the same way, if we ever got to that point in real life? Would you be someone interested enough in dinosaurs to go to that park anyway, even though you know how it’ll turn out?

SLASH: No, I don’t think scientists have learned anything from Jurassic Park. I do know that there were a lot of scientists that have been involved in Jurassic Park, ever since its inception, and Michael Crichton really did a great job creating that original story in the first place. But if we were ever faced with that reality – and you can never say never, but it’s pretty close impossible – I think that we would all go to that island. We’d all take our chances. We do it with everything else, so of course, we would.

Are you more surprised that you’ve gotten into film producing, or that you’re still making music and touring? Did you see either of those things still happening, at this point?

SLASH: With music, I’m a lifer. There are no other options for me. The movie thing was a little bit of a surprise because I had absolutely no aspirations to get involved in the movie business until suddenly, one day, I did. And that wasn’t even necessarily my own idea. Somebody else suggested it to me, and it seemed like an interesting concept, at the time. So, that was a little bit of a surprise, but it’s something that really speaks to me. Now, I’ve got something else that I really dig, that I can do alongside the music thing. It’s cool. I’m very grateful to be doing both.

Do you have anything close to production right now? Where are you at, as far as being in stages of development with whatever you have going on?

SLASH: I have one TV series in the UK that’s in development, and that’s going into production right now. We’re past the development phase and we’re about to get ready to shoot, which is exciting. That’s a TV series that’s a crime thing. It’s not horror, but it’s dark. It’s pretty horrible and horrific. I can say that’s happening, but I can’t give you a title. And we have a bunch of other stuff. I’ve been working with Andrew, Mike, and Rodrigo, and we have BerserkerGang, which is our production company that’s based in Canada, and we’re doing all kinds of stuff, on that end. There are four different things, all in different stages of development, but all pointed in the direction of being released in the next two years.

We’re hearing a lot now about the fears around A.I., and the concerns about how it could affect the film industry and the music industry. What are your thoughts on A.I.? Is it something you’re curious about? Is it something you want nothing to do with? Do you see it as something that could have its uses?

SLASH: It’s a little scary to me because I think we have a tendency to take advantage of any really cool technology, to the point of overdoing it and using it as a crutch and losing all integrity to technology. That’s the scary part. But it’s an interesting development, and there’s a ton of really cool, interesting stuff that can be done with it. I don’t know if you call it a medium or what, but I do have a lot of fears about where it’s gonna go. It doesn’t interest me directly, as far as music or film, at this point. It’s all very new to me. As soon as I heard that Beatles song that they did, I was like, “Shit.” And then, someone put out a version of “Fall to Pieces” (the Velvet Revolver song) with Axl [Rose] singing on it, “I was like,” Oh, my God, this is gonna be out of control in no time.” But we’ll see where it goes.

The Breach is available on digital and VOD.

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